Older black flat roof ready for restoration

What You Need to Know About Your Commercial Building’s EPDM Roofing

In our last blog post, we talked about TPO and PVC single-ply membrane roofing materials. However, your flat or low-slope commercial roof may have a single-ply membrane roofing system in place today that’s not made of either of those reflective and energy-efficient materials. EPDM roofing is a synthetic rubber material—almost always black in color—that is also a strong and durable single-ply membrane.

Unfortunately, some of these EPDM membrane roofs may now be quite old, as the first installations of this material began over 40 years ago.

If your commercial building’s existing roofing membrane is indeed made of EPDM (which stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer), you may now be experiencing leaks at seams or points where the material has been damaged over time. And, you certainly are not experiencing the energy-saving benefits that white-colored and reflective “cool roofing” materials can offer.

Luckily, one of the biggest benefits of EPDM membrane material is its ability to be quickly restored with elastomeric roof coatings and other proven roofing solutions for repair and restoration. Let’s take a closer look.

What is EPDM Roofing Material?

As mentioned above, EPDM roofing material is a single-ply synthetic rubber membrane. The abbreviation EPDM refers to the chemical name of the material, which is made from ethylene, propylene, and a diene co-monomer that allows it to be strengthened by vulcanization.

A thermoset material—which means it does not drastically change shape by stretching and contracting with regular temperature shifts—EPDM performs well in both extremely hot and extremely cold weather conditions. By contrast, most other popular single-ply membrane systems utilize thermoplastic materials that naturally react to temperature shifts—both material types weather well—they just perform differently.

EPDM roofing is easy to install and has excellent longevity, among several other significant benefits that still make it a popular choice for new commercial roofing installations.

EPDM Roofing Benefits

  • EPDM material is resistant to hail and windblown debris from storms.
  • Thermoset material has excellent cyclical fatigue resistance, which means that regular temperature changes don’t really affect its performance for many years.
  • EPDM has extreme wind resistance and is a smart roofing choice in areas prone to hurricanes and tornados.

How Long Does EPDM Roofing Last?

With proper maintenance, building owners can expect their EPDM roofing to last up to 30 years before developing problems. However, this synthetic rubber roofing membrane is also easily repaired and restored to like-new performance, which means it can remain in place much longer—potentially for generations!

How Much Does EPDM Roofing Cost to Replace?

As we mentioned, you may not ever need to fully replace an EPDM membrane roof. Because the material does not become brittle over time from UV light (aka sunlight) exposure, EPDM is better suited for restoration than almost any other commercial roofing material. It maintains its integrity over the long haul and can be optimized at any point in its lifespan to stave off leaks and gain energy efficiency by adding reflective coatings.

That said, if you intend to totally renovate your commercial building from the ground up and need to replace your EPDM roof, you’ll be looking at the cost of about $5.00-$8.00 per square foot.

What Restoration Roofing Solutions are Appropriate for EPDM?

Here at Unlimited Commercial Roofing, we offer several high-performance roofing restoration solutions from Conklin Roofing Systems. And, two of these in particular are great for existing EPDM membrane roofs: membrane coatings and spray foam polyurethane (SPF) materials. You may also consider building a new single-ply membrane roof over your old EPDM membrane, but that option tends to be less cost-effective since our single-ply membrane restoration process involves the installation of board stock between your original roof surface and the new membrane material.

As we talked about earlier, the main drawback of EPDM roofing is the fact that it’s not reflective. The elastomeric coatings we apply for restoration will add that reflectivity to your roof, as well as stop leaks by creating a new waterproof barrier.

Unlimited Commercial Roofing Can Save Your Aging EPDM Flat Roof!

Have other roofing contractors told you that the only way to leak-proof your old commercial roof is to totally tear it off and replace it? Your EPDM flat roof is likely an excellent candidate for restoration!

Before you undertake a huge—and potentially unnecessary—commercial roof replacement project, give us a call for your free, no-obligation roof inspection. Our experts will inspect your Eastern Pennsylvania commercial building’s existing roof—whether it’s made of EPDM, modified bitumen, BUR materials, or another roofing membrane material—and offer our best restoration recommendations to fit your budget. Why replace your roof when we can restore it for less?